Shopping: Clevedon gift shop Wilfred and Alice offers everything from jewellery and clocks to toys and cards
Family is clearly at the heart of pretty gift shop Wilfred and Alice. The charming Clevedon boutique is the creation of husband and wife team Nathan and Julia Jakeways; Julia's mother and sister are often found behind the counter; and the shop is named after Julia's great-grandparents.
I'd been meaning to re-visit this unusual shop for a while, and when I drop by, Julia's sister Sally Thorne is at the helm. "Mum and I step in and help out now and again," smiles Sally, "And I think it's smashing that the shop is named after our great-grandparents – I think they are lovely names.
"Julia has always wanted to open a shop. I can't remember a time that she didn't – it's always been a dream of hers. So when this space came up, she went for it and hasn't looked back."
A delightful shop on the corner of Alexandra Road, which runs parallel to the better-known Hill Road, Wilfred and Alice stocks products that are quirky, well designed, fun and functional.
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From jewellery and clocks to toys and cards, this Aladdin's Cave is packed full of desirable items that are colourful, individual, thoughtful and practical; things you will want to gift and things you'll want to keep all to yourself.
"There's a great range of things for the home as well as gifts and novelties," Sally tells me. "People love the cards, which are really funny and unique. Clocks are a big seller, and the jewellery is really popular with our customers, too, as is the Orla Kiely kitchen range.
"Then there's the toy section, which is simply lovely."
The shop, which boasts a colourful and enticing window display, is split into two sections.
The main part has a diverse range of clocks adorning the walls, from classic and stylish, to funky and contemporary.
Beneath the clocks is an attractive display of offbeat jewellery, including delicate enamel bird necklaces, cute charm bracelets, angel-wing earrings and fun moustache necklaces.
In the middle of the store is a colourful collection of the ever-popular Orla Kiely kitchenwear, including mugs, butter dishes, cake tins and caddies.
There's also an attractive display of the iconic Marmite range of kitchenwear and some bold, colourful Melamine homeware from funky Danish company Rice.
Past the counter to the rear of the shop is a selection of beautifully packaged smellies and scents, while novelty gifts, quirky wrapping paper and a fabulous selection of genuinely amusing cards are dotted about the store.
"The stock has all been Julia's own choice," says Sally. "She has a really good eye for picking out things that people want. And the stock is constantly changing and revolving. Julia is always looking out for new suppliers."
The second room is devoted to top quality children's toys and clothes. There are lovely wooden trains, puzzles and pushalongs as well as Jelly Cat cuddly animals and the most beautiful handmade, soft leather baby shoes from Inch Blue.
There is also a fun selection of merchandise featuring The Gruffalo, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Charlie and Lola and the Tyrrell Katz range.
"If people have seen the website, they'll travel quite a way to come and see the shop," Sally tells me. "We get people from up north stop off here on their way down south, to holiday in Brean or Devon or wherever. Once they've done that once, they'll make a special journey to stop here every year, which is lovely.
"Because we're not actually on Hill Road, it has taken a little while for locals to find us, but once they come, they always come back."